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Dhoni's face told me he desperately wanted to win: Holding on India-England World Cup tie

IANS/London
Filed on June 6, 2020
India's MS Dhoni hits a boundary during the 2019 Cricket World Cup match against England. -- AFP

Former Pakistan bowler Sikander Bakht claimed on Twitter that Stokes, in his book, has said that India lost intentionally to England to remove Pakistan from the World Cup.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes in his book had recently spoken about how the English team was slightly surprised at the way in which India chased in their 2019 World Cup game against the hosts. But the matter snowballed after former Pakistan players said that India lost the game just to stop Pakistan from qualifying for the knockout stages. Former West Indies pacer turned pundit Michael Holding has begged to differ.

"To be honest, a lot of people watching that game perhaps wouldn't have arrived to the same conclusion that Ben Stokes arrived at that India were not trying to win," he said on his You Tube channel.

"It was not the game that India had to win, but I don't think anyone can say that was a team tactic to lose the game. I watched that game and it appeared to me as if India weren't putting up their 100 per cent, but I realised it was not the case when the expression on MS Dhoni's face told me that he desperately wanted to win, so I do not think it was a team decision to not try to win.

"But I don't think they went with the same intensity of wanting to win the game, say, if it was a do-or-die situation. If it was, we would have seen a different game," he pointed.

Former Pakistan bowler Sikander Bakht claimed on Twitter that Stokes, in his book, has said that India lost intentionally to England to remove Pakistan from the World Cup. In response to Bakht's tweet, a Twitter user asked where Stokes had made such comments.

In response to the user's question, the star England all-rounder himself responded: "You won't find it cause I have never said it... it's called "twisting of words" or "click bait"."

IANS has also reviewed the book and there was no such mention. In his book, Stokes does talk about the approach of the Indians in that chase and how it was surprising to see them looking to keep wickets in the kitty and take the game to the backend.

Stokes, in fact, also speaks about how this might no longer be the smart way of approaching the game as the required run-rate starts piling up and it starts impacting those that come in at the fall of a wicket.


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